Happy Pride Month! Every year in the month of June, Pride Month is celebrated in order to uplift and celebrate LGBTQ+ voices and honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, a key milestone in US history for queer liberation. Here at LevelUp, we recognize that LGBTQ+ individuals, especially LGBTQ+ women, have faced adversity and many challenges in the workplace.
Hence, to celebrate the accomplishments and valuable contributions LGBTQ+ women have made to society and to fields such as business, media, and technology, we have compiled a list of LGBTQ+ female founders to keep an eye on this Pride Month:
Alicia Garza (Twitter: @aliciagarza)
Alicia Garza is an American activist and writer, known for co-founding Black Lives Matter, an organization that addresses systematic racism and police brutality towards Black people. She studied anthropology and sociology at the University of California, San Diego, and has been heavily involved in social justice throughout her career. In 2018, Garza founded Black Futures Lab, a think tank that helps build progressive political power for Black communities.
Vivienne Ming (Twitter: @neuraltheory)
Dr. Vivienne Ming is a neuroscientist, technologist, and the co-founder of Socos, a think tank that experiments with machine learning and cognitive neuroscience to address problems in health, education, and the workforce. On the side, Dr. Ming invents AI systems to help treat her diabetic son and speaks about her research on inclusion and gender in business and tech.
Michelle Kim (Twitter: @mjmichellekim)
Michelle Kim is the CEO and co-founder of Awaken, a company that provides training programs and workshops to leaders and organizations on authenticity, social justice, and inclusive leadership. She is passionate about social entrepreneurship and graduated from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. In addition to her work at Awaken, Kim is an activist and serves on organizations such as the San Francisco Human Rights Commission’s Advisory Committee.
Irma Olguin Jr. (Twitter: @irms)
Irma Olguin Jr. is the co-founder and CEO of Bitwise Industries, a company that provides paid apprenticeships to students from marginalized communities looking to learn tech skills and get connected with career opportunities. After studying at the University of Toledo, she began her journey of helping small businesses with technology, co-founding the hackathon competition 59 Days of Code, coworking space Hashtag Fresno, and web design startup Edit LLC. Olguin is passionate about growing tech talent and increasing diversity in tech.
Erica Chidi (Twitter: @ericachidi)
Erica Chidi is the co-founder and CEO of LOOM, a wellness brand focused on empowering women through sexual and reproductive health education. Chidi started her journey as a volunteer doula at the San Francisco prison system, where she supported and cared for pregnant inmates. She is passionate about women’s healthcare and helping people cultivate body literacy, and has helped many people advocate for their health through her work as a doula and health educator.
To read more about LGBTQ+ women who are industry leaders, head over to our Instagram where we have also spotlighted LGBTQ+ women making an impact in tech and business, including Arlan Hamilton, founder of Backstage Capital, and Angelica Ross, founder of TransTech Social Enterprises.